24 APRIL 1920, Page 14


Sra,— "One little sin against good taste our author sometimes commits—an error from which Sir Walter Scott is not exempt. We mean the humour of giving characteristic names to persons and places: for instance, Sir Thomas Jermyn is Member of Parliament for the town of Rottenborough. This very easy and appellative jocularity seems to us, we confess, to savour a little of vulgarity; and it is therefore quite as unworthy of Mr. Lister, as Dr. Dryasdust is of Sir Walter Scott. The plainest names that can be found (Smith, Thompson, Johnson, and Simson, always excepted) are the best for novels."

I had put down the third volume of Sydney Smith's Works, open at the page on which these words appear, to read the Spectator, and the coincidence, on reaching p. 524, gives me the boldness to send you the extract—I am, Sir, &c.,

F. W. H.